Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


Ordnance survey map of MORESBY HALL
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Copeland (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NX 98342 20970



1/50 Moresby Hall



The description shall be amended to read:

Large house. Overall courtyard plan. Date and development. 3 main building phases. (i) Late medieval, built for the Moresby family which died out in the male line in 1499, and possibly incorporating a tower to the NW with a hall range attached to the E. There is insufficient evidence to reconstruct the medieval plan. (ii) Late C16/early C17, built for the Fletcher family who bought the estate in 1576; this phase involved a radical remodelling of the older house with associated refenestration and re-roofing, and the principal dating features are the double-chamfered windows under hood moulds. The house had definitely assumed a courtyard plan by this phase. (iii) Late C17 (c.1670-90), the remodelling of the S range (heightened and re-fronted with rusticated ashlar), again for the Fletcher family possibly to designs by William Thackery or Edward Addison. C18 and C19 modifications. Materials. Almost all concealed by rendering, but mainly either random rubble or snecked ashlar sandstone; graduated slate gable-end roofs. Exterior: S elevation (phase 3). Symmetrical 7 bay front, 2½ storeys, rusticated throughout. Cornice carries blocking course with pilasters. Central studded door in round headed rusticated surround with Fletcher coat of arms in open segmental pediment supported by pilasters which are 'crossed by bands, tied, as it were, to them by lozenge shaped nails', an unusual motif found also at Catterlen hall, newton Reigny, Cumbria. All windows of 2-light with diamond leaded panes, with stone mullions and architraves; ground floor windows have single transoms; 1st floor windows (to be piano nobile) have 2 transoms and pediments (alternately triangular and segmental) with a more ornate surround with brackets to the central window which stands on the doorway pediment. E. elevation (phases 2 and 3). The gable ends of the N and S ranges flank the kitchen range which has a much lower roof line; dominating the elevation is the massive random rubble external kitchen stack with 4 pairs of set-offs and a small (later) brick shaft. S range E end, symmetrical, 2 windows to 1st and 2nd floors (blocked, see interior) and one to upper (attic) storey all of a date with the S front windows, and identical in size to them, nut without the pediment. Straddling the line between front and kitchen ranges is a small 2-light 1st floor window with double-chamfered surround and diamond leading (and which, being phase 2, establishes that the C16/17 house was a courtyard plan: see internal newel in addition). Other windows scattered; 2 with C19 2-pane sashes, another single-light window with C18 12-pane metal casement and lift-off hinges. E end of N range (with C19 internal stack) has corbelled projecting garderobe serving the upper storey, its roof flush with the N. slope of the main roof. Blocked 4-light 1st floor window, with stone mullions and single transom under a hoodmould (phase 2). Ground-floor sash window. Attached outbuildings of no special interest. N. elevation (phases 1 and 2, re-fenestrated C19). 3 window range (2-pane sashes with plain surrounds) might mark the site of the original hall range much modified in the C16/17 (see courtyard). Doorway to right gives into through passage; large ridge stack (brick shaft, stone below). The right-hand element in this elevation now forms the gable end of the W. range (with internal end stack, coped gable with kneelers, garage entrance). It is highly likely that this part of the house (ie the NW corner) incorporates a medieval pele tower served by a still surviving newel in the SE angle. W. elevation (all phases). The former pele and W. range all under the same roof with ridge stack. Irregular fenestration; phase 2 marked by one small ground-floor window with chamfered surround and modern 2-light casement, and a 1st floor hood mould, originally for a 3-light window but now with a C19 4-pane sash. Other C19 sash windows. 2 phase 3 windows, both of 2-lights with diamond leading, one to the 1st floor (with transom), the other to light S range attic. Attached outbuildings and external boiler stacks of no interest. Courtyard elevations. Considerable evidence of the phase 2 building survives on the courtyard elevations of all but the S range where later building (including the rear stacks and stair turret from phase 3) obscures early features. The render probably conceals much of interest. The S face of the N range contains more visible work: doorway to cross-passage with chamfered jambs, and depressed arch (C19 planked door); this is connected with 2 3-light double chamfered windows by a continuous string course that forms the window hood moulds. All but one of the original lights are blocked but several mullions may be hidden beneath the render. 1st floor with 2 large 4-light windows with transom and continuous string course/hoodmould. Mostly blocked except for one C20 insertion. Another small window to upper half-storey remains of similar windows to E and W elevations. One unadorned slit window lights pele tower newel and is probably medieval. Interior. With the exception of the S range, very little early work survives or is visible although much is probably concealed. Of the medieval work (other than undetailed masonry) only the newel of the pele is visible rising from ground to attic. There is evidence suggestive of a second newel to the inner SE angle of the building. The pele was re-roofed along with the W range in the second phase (2 bays visible, tie beam, collar, staggered purlins, pegged throughout). Blocked C16/17 window in attic N wall. Other roofs not inspected; that to the N range could be of great interest. The great kitchen fireplace (E range) was apprarently gutted in c.1855. The best internal features are to be found in the principal (S) range. Ground floor: each of the 3 rooms with stone fireplaces with bolection moulded surrounds; intersecting ceiling beams, plastered over to the right-hand room, otherwise roughly chamfered or plain; internal panelled shutters. Good stair (central, rear turret); open well, moulded rail, panelled newels, inverted dumb bell balusters; it looks right for the late C17. The principal rooms are on the 1st floor, and the details in the main later, C18; bolection moulded fireplaces; end panelled cupboards occupying position of windows; the 3 main rooms connected by doorways with moulded shouldered architraves.

Listing NGR: NX9834220970


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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 26 Aug 2001
Reference: IOE01/02954/03
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Julian Thurgood. Source Historic England Archive
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